How to Password Protect Notes in iOS 9.3 and OS X 10.11.4

by

Although more prominent features like Night Shift and a few new Quick Actions are getting the spotlight with the launch of iOS 9.3, one new lesser-known update is definitely worth checking out. In iOS 9.3, Apple has improved the functionality of its first-party Notes app with the ability to add password or Touch ID security for individual notes.

The feature allows users to prevent access to sensitive information on a case-by-case basis (some notes, like a shopping list, might not be as high risk), just in case someone gets past the lock screen security of the iPhone itself. With some people even using Notes to store passwords for various sites and services, Apple's security-enhanced update is well worth checking out.

Creating a Password in Notes on iOS

The steps needed to set up a password or Touch ID for your Notes are straight-forward and should only take a few moments to complete.

iPhone Notes Touch ID How To

  1. Navigate to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down to "Notes" and tap on it.
  3. Midway down the screen will be a "Password" option. Tap on it.
  4. If this is your first time setting it up, a menu will immediately appear asking to set up the new password.
  5. Fill out the fields requiring the Notes password (remember that something other than your iPhone passcode will be preferable), and then verify the password in the next field.
  6. Provide a hint to the password you entered to ensure that if you ever forget it you can be guided back through guessing.
  7. In the same menu, toggle on "Use Touch ID."
  8. Tap "Done" in the top right corner to confirm your selections.

To test out the new password and Touch ID features of Notes, head over to the Notes app on your iPhone or iPad. There are just a few more steps to go through to fully protect a note of your choice from prying eyes.

How To Touch ID Notes 2

  1. Once inside Notes, if you've already got a particular note in mind to protect, skip to the next step. Otherwise, tap on the bottom right of the app to create a new Note, and enter any private information you wish to hide.
  2. Inside the note, tap on the top right of the screen to bring up the share menu. Tap the "Lock Note" option in the bottom row.
  3. If you haven't entered the Notes password recently, the app will ask for the password or Touch ID fingerprint you created in the Settings menu. Comply by providing either measure of security. If no password or fingerprint is required, the lock will be added automatically.
  4. This adds a lock to the note, but doesn't actually lock it yet. To do that, click on the new unlocked button on the top right of the screen.
  5. The note should now be hidden with a simple "This note is locked" message.
  6. To view the locked note again, simply tap "View Note" and place your finger on the Home Button to use Touch ID, or enter your password.

Using a Password in the OS X Notes App

Alongside the iOS 9.3 update, Apple's OS X 10.11.4 introduces similar support for password-protected Notes for the company's desktop operating system. The password setup process carries over from the iOS installation, but you'll have to ensure that Notes are syncing with iCloud to properly use the password feature on a Mac.

  1. Navigate to System Preferences.
  2. Click on iCloud.
  3. Scroll until you see "Notes" and make sure the box is checked.

From here, any changes made to your Notes on iOS -- from their content to the locked/unlocked status -- should be reflected on the Mac. Of course, Apple's desktops and laptops don't have Touch ID, so if you want to unlock a Note away from your iPhone, you'll have to enter the password into the app.

Notes Mac App Password
At any time you can change or turn off the password in Notes by revisiting the Settings iOS app, navigating back through the Notes, then Password submenus, and following either the "Change Password" or "Reset Password" buttons.

There are plenty of other neat features that debuted in both iOS 9.3 and OS X 10.11.4, so check out MacRumors' recent coverage of each for more information.

Top Rated Comments

DCstewieG Avatar
61 months ago
Leave it to Apple -- the company that lets you to put a disk in the garbage to eject it -- to have you click the Share button so you can lock a note for private use...the exact opposite of sharing. Kinda like clicking the Start button in Windows to shutdown.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Norbs12 Avatar
61 months ago
The interface for the lock is so odd. I always thought of the button on the top right as more of a "share" button. I looked for the lock almost everywhere except there because I thought it would be a ridiculous place for it.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brunosh Avatar
61 months ago
It's not intuitive at all on iOS
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glassed Silver Avatar
61 months ago

The interface for the lock is so odd. I always thought of the button on the top right as more of a "share" button. I looked for the lock almost everywhere except there because I thought it would be a ridiculous place for it.

Hidden features is exactly the reason why Steve Jobs opposed a menu button Android-style.

That Share button has become a complete joke, but it's only a symbol for the many other things that get hidden away, nested, convoluted, etc... All while at the same time not even increasing possibilities!

Yes, I'm looking at you, iOS 7 and up on iPad... It's basically a blown up, "less nested options" version of the iPhone interface.
Sounds like Android to me and hell, even there things have changed for the better.

Glassed Silver:mac
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
profets Avatar
61 months ago
Absolutely unintuitive. No casual user will even think about digging through settings for a new feature like that.

And then to lock a note.. And then it stays unlocked until you lock it again. Touch ID is fast enough that it should always be locked.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D3lta Avatar
61 months ago
I wish the Notes app would automatically lock the notes as soon as you close the app, similar to how Credit Karma requires your Touch ID every time you close the app. Right now they seem to only lock automatically if you lock your phone, unless I'm missing something. If I unlock the notes and switch over to Safari, the notes remain unlocked unless I manually hit the lock button.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Although we're still a few days away from the official launch of Black Friday, we've known for a few weeks that many retailers would be kicking off discounts ahead of November 27. Because of this trend, today we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the 10.2-inch iPad and 2020 iPad Pro. More sales are likely to appear as the week progresses, and when they do we'll update ...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...